Mitchell hits first over-the-fence home run

Hard work really does pay off! Just ask Tanner Mitchell, who just recently hit his first out-of-the-park home run in a travel ball tournament.

The feat is a remarkable accomplishment in itself, nevermind the fact that he’s only 8-years-old and has only been playing baseball for two years.

In the time since he began playing, his parents, Brian and Mary Mitchell of Swainsboro, have enrolled him in private lessons with Chip Plante of Whistling Dixie Baseball in Dublin. In addition, his parents have afforded him the opportunity to play club ball; Mitchell started travel ball with the Georgia Storm out of Swainsboro, moved to Georgia Premier out of Statesboro, and has been with Line Drive 8U coached by Ty Mingle and Joel Hussey since the fall of 2020.

It was with this team at a tournament held February 20-21 at Bazemore Park in Garden City that Mitchell would make a memory that will stick with him for a lifetime. In the second game of the tournament in pool play at around 1:50 p.m., Mitchell stepped into the box against the Richmond Hill Tide and capitalized on a chest-high pitch, right in his wheelhouse, and swung—literally!—for the fences. The result would be a 2-run homer.

Looking back, Mitchell says he didn’t realize the hit was over the fence until he made it halfway to first base. Once that realization occurred, he was pumped. His team rushed the field and celebrated with him once he crossed home plate.

“We were over the moon excited for him,” his mother, Mary, said. “He is a humble kid, and he puts in a lot of hard work on and off the field.”

Still, the story gets better. Just a day later, Mitchell hit his second over-the-fence home run.

On February 21 around 12 noon in the first game of bracket play, he took a pitcher from Bloomingdale’s Combat Blue 8U yard as well. This homer was another 2-run blast.

“He had us nervous on this one! He had two strikes on him, but when he hit it, he smacked it! It cleared the fence, the road, and almost hit a car,” Mary said.

His mom added that her son’s success at the plate in Garden City is a testament to his hard work and dedication in that the night before the tournament, he went to a hitting lesson and was determined to hit a “dinger,” as Mitchell refers to home runs, the next day. He told his parents at the lesson he was going to hit two home runs, and he delivered for them, himself, and, most importantly, his team.

Line Drive 8U ended up falling short to Combat Blue 11-9, putting Mingle and Hussey’s team out on Sunday just before the semifinals. Regardless, Line Drive gave everyone a run for their money—and Mitchell, as part of that, ran a little faster around the bases twice over. Now, he’s got some special memories and two special baseballs to remind him the rest of his life.

In the meantime, you can rest assured he’ll keep going to lessons and working with his team to prepare for Line Drive’s next tournament, which will be March 13-14 in Lyons.

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